My exchange on gun control with Roberta X has been continuing on a thread which is now several days old, so I thought I'd switch to a fresh post for my latest response. I had asked Roberta if she hadn't told me a couple of years ago that she'd been held up at gunpoint twice, and whether the greater likelihood of that happening in her country didn't lead her to a fairly obvious conclusion. This was her response -
"Yes, I have been held up twice at gunpoint -- but I have never been beaten up, which is far more likely in London or Glasgow than Indianapolis. Nor have I ever suffered a "hot" robbery, also much more common there than here.
I do worry about you; I know where murder is most likely to strike here and what the risk factors are (illegal drugs, dating men into drugs, living in certain neighborhoods -- I got robbed in areas I should have known better than to be in at the time of day I was in them). Your rate of violent crime is higher and it is more likely to strike outside of "high risk" zones."
You’re very carefully talking about robberies, violent crime, etc – but not murders. There’s a good reason why you’re avoiding that subject, namely the fact that the murder rate is three times higher in your own country, a statistic that can in no small part be attributed to the rate of gun ownership. I’m not in any way diminishing the terrible trauma caused by robberies, but life goes on after them. Life does not go on if you’ve just been murdered. Therefore, if gun control helps prevent murders, it’s fulfilling its primary objective, regardless of whether we give any credence to your deeply implausible suggestion that it's somehow increasing the rate at which lesser crimes are committed.
And as I’ve already pointed out, you and Kevin Baker are unwittingly harming your own case by harping on about Britain’s violent crime rate – if we’re such a violent society in comparison to the United States and yet have a much, much lower homicide rate, what can possibly explain that discrepancy other than obvious factors such as the extent of gun control? You simply don’t have a credible answer to that question, and Kevin ludicrously flaunts his own inability to answer – “Cultural differences! Oooh, la mystère!” Well, as I said on the previous thread, it must be a hell of a weird “cultural phenomenon” that makes British thugs more likely than their American counterparts to beat someone senseless, but simultaneously far more likely to refrain from actually killing anyone.
The mystery Kevin needs to solve for us is the mystery of the British noble savage. Alternatively he could just consider the obvious explanation – thugs in this country are much less likely to be armed with guns.
"As for riots, given that the States are far larger than Scotland and much more diverse, it is not at all surprising "we" have had riots more recently. Culturally, you've a lot more in common with England and they've had riots even more recently. (Indianapolis, the last riot per se was over a decade ago, smallish and actually resulted in some resolution of the specific issue)."
The point about cultural similarities with England is monumentally silly. We’re culturally closer to the Republic of Ireland than we are to the parts of England that suffered riots – when was the last serious riot in Dublin? We’re culturally closer to New Zealand than America – when was the last serious riot in Auckland? I’m sure we’re very grateful for your “Riot Forecast” service, but your time might be better spent explaining your extraordinary proposition that arming the rioters with guns will somehow assist matters in the unlikely event that we have such a major incident in the near future.
"As for ABB, he failed to obtain guns illegally *once.* He tried via legal means and succeeded. Do you really think if he had been stymied there, he would have folded his hands and said, "That's it for me, then"? I don't think just "any criminal" can lay hands of a gun in either of our countries (it helps to be a careerist instead of a whackjob); but I am sure that a determined one can. ABB had determination."
First point – you still haven’t answered the question of whether it would have been a good thing if, having failed in a serious attempt to obtain guns illegally, he had been prevented from doing so legally. Your implicit answer seems to be “it doesn’t matter”, which is frankly bizarre. However, you raise an interesting point about the determination of criminals to lay their hands on weapons, and this probably gets to the nub of why gun control is such a successful tool in suppressing the murder rate – as you openly conceded yourself, not all criminals will go to any lengths to obtain a gun illegally. Some may, but others will just commit crime opportunistically, and if they don’t happen to have a gun to hand at the time, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that they’re much less likely to kill anyone.
"You cannot get rid of guns. It's impossible; not even totalitarian states manage to do so. All you can do is reduce the law-abiding to a pool of helpless victims for any lunatic or predator.
That is an unacceptable outcome."
Nobody is claiming we can “get rid of guns”. But people certainly are claiming that we can limit access to them, and as a result suppress both the gun death rate and the overall homicide rate. The statistical evidence from our two countries leaves you on very weak ground in attempting to dispute that.